John Cook of TechFlash asked the question over the weekend, "could laid off Microsoft workers spark a new innovation wave?". I can confirm that exactly that is happening.
As many who are close to me know, I try to balance my patent work 50% among established corporations and 50% among startups. While I am seeing established corporations cut budgets and pull back 10-20% on patent work in the current economy, I am also seeing a flood of growth in the number of laid off workers starting new ventures and seeking patent protection. Whether from Microsoft or other local companies, many who have for years been seduced by a steady corporate paycheck are finding that the current crisis is providing an opportunity to pursue a long-held dream of starting a technology company.
Not every new venture will succeed, but this period will undoubtedly lead to some very interesting and useful innovation that will spur the next wave of economic growth. Now if we can just get the government to stay out of businesses enough to let them succeed (but that's deserving of its own post).